This ticks me off. In the same breath as rightly offering prayers of concern for Haggard’s wife and children, Mark Driscoll (founding pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle) then goes on to insult her and intimate that at least one reason some leaders can’t keep their penis in their pants is that their wives don’t work hard enough to stay attractive for them:
A follow-up article by the Associated Press said that Haggard purchased methamphetamines from the gay prostitute but claims he never used them. He also admitted to getting a massage from the gay prostitute but denies any sexual activity between the two.
Of course the media is having a field day with the scandal, particularly since Haggard’s home state of Colorado is on the brink of a highly charged political vote regarding homosexual rights. It will likely take weeks to untangle the truth in all of this very devastating news. In the meantime, let us pray that his wife and five children will be loved and supported through this incredibly difficult time. The horror they must be experiencing is likely unbearable.
As every pastor knows, we are always at risk from the sin in us and the sinful temptations around us.
My suspicion is that as our culture becomes more sexually rebellious, things will only get worse. Therefore, as a means of encouragement, I would like to share some practical suggestions for fellow Christian leaders, especially young men:
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.
Now, it really is important for those in leadership positions–in the church, outside of the church–and in fact all spouses to consider what they need to do to strengthen their marriage and their commitment to their spouse. This blog post is helpful to some extent in that regard. Pastors do need a pastor. They do need to acknowledge that their vocation and role (like many others of leadership) sometimes puts them in positions where they might be propositioned, and habits and relationships that allow for strength to reject these advances are helpful and sometimes essential. And, for the record, there are many many many good reasons why spouses want to work at being attractive–to one another, for one’s self esteem–and might work at physical fitness too.
But, for God’s sake, no matter what the wife looks like, if these reports are true, this is about Haggard’s repressed sexuality. Even if this were just a straight-forward affair, that would not be her fault. Nor would their sexual relationship be purely her responsibility: it is a shared negotiation and often based on many complex factors, partly physical attraction, partly emotional intimacy, partially stress and fatigue, partially ennui or playfulness, partially care and compassion and love for the other. And physical attraction isn’t a pure matter of “letting oneself go” or not but is wrapped up in all those other things. For God’s sake, how many pastor’s wives have kept with their once-skinny-now-apple-shaped husbands through thick and thin?
Oh, but if only wives put out more and were sexier, then maybe their clergy-husbands wouldn’t seek male prostitutes for “massages” and buy-but-not-use Meth.
Please! It boggles the mind.
…Looks like I was being temperate, by comparison. See Bob Carlton’s thoughts.